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Price Elasticity of Demand for Term Life Insurance and Adverse Selection

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  • Mark V. Pauly
  • Kate H. Withers
  • Krupa Subramanian-Viswana
  • Jean Lemaire
  • John C. Hershey
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    Abstract

    This paper provides an empirical estimate of price' and risk' elasticities of demand for term life insurance for those who purchase some insurance. It finds that the elasticity with respect to changes in premiums is generally higher than the elasticity with respect to changes in risk. It also finds that the elasticity, in the range of -0.3 to -0.5, is sufficiently low that adverse selection in term life insurance is unlikely to lead to a death spiral and may not even lead to measured effects of adverse selection on total purchases.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9925.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9925.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9925

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    1. Hausman, Jerry A, 1985. "The Econometrics of Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1255-82, November.
    2. Babbel, David F, 1985. " The Price Elasticity of Demand for Whole Life Insurance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(1), pages 225-39, March.
    3. Tomas Philipson & John Cawley, 1999. "An Empirical Examination of Information Barriers to Trade in Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 827-846, September.
    4. Cardon, James H & Hendel, Igal, 2001. "Asymmetric Information in Health Insurance: Evidence from the National Medical Expenditure Survey," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(3), pages 408-27, Autumn.
    5. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive?," NBER Working Papers 7996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hausman, Jerry A & Wise, David A, 1980. "Discontinuous Budget Constraints and Estimation: The Demand for Housing," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 75-96, January.
    7. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
    8. Rogers, Richard G. & Powell-Griner, Eve, 1991. "Life expectancies of cigarette smokers and nonsmokers in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1151-1159, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Michael Hoy & Julia Witt, 2005. "Welfare Effects of Banning Genetic Information in the Life Insurance Market: The Case of BRCA1/2 Genes," Working Papers 0505, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
    2. Deborah Wilson, 2005. "Acquisition and disclosure of genetic information under alternative policy regimes," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 05/118, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
    3. Alma Cohen & Peter Siegelman, 2009. "Testing for Adverse Selection in Insurance Markets," NBER Working Papers 15586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Grönqvist, Erik, 2004. "Does Adverse Selection Matter? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 575, Stockholm School of Economics.
    5. Robert M. Townsend & Shawn Cole & Jeremy Tobacman & Xavier Gine & James Ian Vickery & Petia Topalova, 2012. "Barriers to Household Risk Management," IMF Working Papers 12/195, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Petia Topalova & Shawn Cole & Xavier Gene & Jeremy Tobacman & Robert Townsend & James Vickery, 2011. "Barriers to Household Risk Management: Evidence from India," Working Papers id:4293, eSocialSciences.
    7. Michiel Bijlsma & Machiel van Dijk & Marc Pomp & Cora Zonderland, 2005. "Competition in markets for life insurance," CPB Document 96, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    8. Oster, Emily & Shoulson, Ira & Quaid, Kimberly & Dorsey, E. Ray, 2010. "Genetic adverse selection: Evidence from long-term care insurance and Huntington disease," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1041-1050, December.

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